Happy New Year Links Round up


There’s lots of things to do today, and I’ve been relatively quiet, so here are a few things I’ve been looking at, for whatever reason. Maybe you’d be interested:

From Digg.com:


Personal viewings:

The result of a google search for couples boudoir.

My friend Ryan’s inspiration (example above): These Incredible Aerial Photos of Volcanic Rivers in Iceland Look Like Paintings

From Cynical CNews Reporter Passes Out on Air and Then Finishes Report



still working on them tables

tablesThis has been quite a week for Tina and me.

We learned some bad news. We lost two accounts that made up about eight jobs, two of which were in New York City.

It appears, at least for now, that our NYC work has dried up. It’s my goal to land a bigger and better client to replace this one. Said and done, we weren’t making too much off the work trips to NY. We love that city and love seeing Luis V. and Becky F., so it was always fun to go.

We’ve been raising our rates lately, and are declining lower-paid work in exchange for jobs with higher price tags. As a financial conservative, this is tough for a guy like me.

But the quality of our work is improving, and with that, we should chase higher-quality customers.

On the heels of bad news, there has been a flood of positive words. A local magazine will be publishing the images we took of the tables above, and the response from our client was that the magazine “complimented your gorgeous photos.”

We attended an event with a national luxury interiors magazine last night and received, quite possibly, some of the highest praise from their publisher I’ve ever heard. She introduced us as a high-quality, photography team with a portfolio of amazing work as well as two of the best personalities in the business.

The stars are also aligning with strong possibilities of landing a beautiful studio space soon. Stand by for details.

And the mother of one of the models we’ve worked with a few times sent us a note this week that read:

Lauren has worked with several other photographer teams since the catalog [for our client]. To date, I think your set-up/shot plans, energy and direction, and brilliant finishing are not to be duplicated.

All I know is, I should be re-broadcasting those words with bullhorns from rooftops.

We continue to attract attention from bigger and better clients. I can tell it’s taking it’s toll on this blog. Day to day hits have plummeted.

It’s fine. I’m directing more energy — positive energy — toward creative efforts.

Tina and I hope to roll out our new brand soon. And I’m going to be dedicating much more time to social media and marketing to drive traffic to us.




In 2012 I bought an apartment specifically to rent out on airbnb. I’ve been managing it remotely for the past year. This post includes everything I learned as well as some revenue numbers.

Finding a place to buy

Each listing on airbnb has a publicly visible calendar that shows which nights are booked and which nights are available. Using this tool it’s very easy to work out almost exactly each host is making. This makes it an invaluable resource when researching where to buy.

Simply find a listing that’s in an area you’re thinking about buying and click on the calendar tab. Then count up how many red squares there are in a given month, * that by the nightly rate listed on the profile and you have the monthly revenue.

Read on. 


piercing beauty


While in New York a couple weeks ago, part of our job is to capture the essence of bridal designers and their exhibits. Most of the designers hire models to try on their gowns for buyers.

Often, the models are marble-mouthingly gorgeous. Tina and I will pass a few and lose all ability to make intelligible words come out of our mouths.

I’ve been going through my photos, which is where this one came from as well.



Marvelous! Here are gorgeous photos of the destruction of our planet!

From Vanity Fair, in an article called, On the Cold Front, check out these beautiful photos from James Balog:

In an effort to provide concrete visual proof of climate change and its devastating effects, photographer James Balog embarked on a years-long project that spanned the northern reaches of the globe. He set up cameras from Greenland to Alaska in order to capture horrifying—yet undeniably beautiful—time-lapse photos that reveal the unprecedented rate at which glaciers are receding. As the award-winning Chasing Ice, which chronicles Balog’s monumental endeavor with his Extreme Ice Survey, hits New York on November 9, VF.com showcases breathtaking photographs from Balog’s Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, published by Rizzoli.

If only the ice would melt into the form of large Ts, perhaps more climate change deniers would get on board.

Via Kottke

Insider advice: shooting runway and fashion photography with Robert Mitra

One of my favorite photography blogs, From Me to You, recently featured a short interview with a runway fashion photographer who shoots Fashion Week every year.

The photographer is Robert Mitra, and you can read the entire interview here.

Don’t bother going to Mitra’s website. The idiot has it locked down for some dumb reason.

Mitra talks about why he shoots JPGs over RAWs at runways, what lenses, what camera body and the settings he uses. And he talks about what it’s like to be in the photo pits fighting for position.

After shooting in music festivals and runways here and in New York, I can attest to the fighting for position and how difficult it can be.

I don’t agree with Mitra’s camera settings so much. I like a little more depth of field so I try to shoot at 1/320th and at 3.2 to 4.0. Runways are generally slow, and 1/320th is good enough to stop the action. Heck, it’s good enough to stop a drummers arm in low-light, I think it’s more than enough to stop a model shuffling slowly down a runway.

I don’t like the softness that starts on the face with an f-stop of 2.8. I want a little more in focus to go from nose to ears.

The shot above is yours truly fending for position at a Bridal Week pit last October.

Below is a huge pit from fashion week that was featured at From Me to You. How crazy is that! Also below is a short, short video of what it looks like and sounds like in the pit.

It’s essential to chew gum like a champ.

I’ll never live down not having the right lens last year. This year, I’m going to be over prepared. 🙂

Stumbling around in NYC

Tina and I arrived in beautiful NYC yesterday. While waiting to check into our hotel, we grabbed a bit at one of our favorite diners, met a self-described clairvoyant medium who also works as a life coach.

We walked around a bit, and I snapped some photos.

We met friends Becky and Luis for dinner last night at an excellent Cuban restaurant called Calle Ocho. I had a skirt steak that the chef is so cocky about, he serves it with a butter knife.

But I didn’t need that either.

Tina and I will be shooting today and nursing our feet tonight from walking around. Here are some shot that I took around the neighborhood yesterday.

Swing a cat, hit a photographer

Bill Whitmire and I met with a magazine publisher recently, and one of the things he said was, “Swing a cat, hit a photographer.” That’s to say, there’s a shit ton of us out there, so what makes you different? What makes you better? What makes you (or me) different and hirable?

Lately, I’ve been buckling down — attempting to anyway — on how we position and market ourselves as photographers.

It’s weird for me, because my business has always been multifaceted.

Multifacification (real word) confuses people. But I don’t mind.

One of my clients always refers to me as a photographer, despite that she hires me for video. That’s the way it can be, and probably should be.

There’s a great crossover with photography and video. You have to consider frame and to figure out lighting with both. Only, with video, you often add sound, which — in case you weren’t aware — makes up for more than half of a video’s success or failure. But I also have a long background in graphic design, and when editing, it helps me compose text on screen which moves around.

For me, it feels natural to offer many services. And it makes it easier to offer those services with Tina as my full-time partner. Now with the partnership with Bill, I feel that we can kick even more ass and pickup even better jobs.

This weekend, Tina and I are off to New York City to photograph NY Bridal Week events.

We’ll also get to see the lovely newlyweds, Becky F. and Luis V.

I might even try to locate another occasional reader named Tambobambo. She’s an aussie living there, who started following the blog around the same time as Luis.

Happy Friday the 13th.

Did you know that if you swing a black cat, you’ll hit a photographer and give everyone else bad luck?

Uh oh: blogs to replace resumés … what’s going to replace fiancés?

So the New York Times says that eventually blogs, tumblrs and twitter accounts could replace your need for that old raggedy resumé.

That means, if this economy ever pushed me out of my place as a photographer slash entrepreneur and I had to go back for a real job, Le Café Witteveen might be my resumé.


I might actually have to dumb some of my crass shit down so that I can get to the level of the average American …

If you know what I mean.



9/11 Memorial Curators Decide Not To Display Swastika Formed By Twisted Girders Found At Ground Zero

From a very reliable source:

NEW YORK—Despite the surprising coincidence of finding a perfectly formed swastika amidst the broken girders of the Twin Towers, 9/11 memorial curators have opted not to display the symbol, choosing instead to leave it in the storage facility where it has been located for the past 10 years. “On the one hand, it’s pretty miraculous that there was a precisely shaped 80-by-80-foot swastika found in the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center, but in the end, we decided not to include it in our plans for the museum,” said memorial spokesman Stanley Morgenstern, adding that it would probably be seen as inappropriate. “Although you’ve got to admit that it is pretty incredible. Mathematically, what are the odds? It’s amazing but, perhaps, not right for what we are trying to achieve with the museum.” Upon hearing the news, neo-Nazi groups have complained about the exclusion, arguing that the giant swastika is “a sign from heaven” and that “9/11 affectedall Americans, including those who believe in the inherent genetic superiority of the Aryan race.”